Home Local Voices Transition, Work & Motherhood: A 10-Minute Beauty Routine For Today’s Woman

Transition, Work & Motherhood: A 10-Minute Beauty Routine For Today’s Woman


Ed: Sydney Chaney Thomas is a Moraga-based writer and businesswoman with three books to her name, all currently available on Amazon. She is also co-founder of a sustainable sailing apparel company called Ocean SF, and operates a nonprofit that works to reduce plastic waste called the The Trident Project.

Sydney teaches entrepreneurial marketing at UC Berkeley in their International Diploma Program and, in addition to this column, she writes a popular lifestyle blog, which can be found at sydneychaneythomas.com.

Transition, Work & Motherhood
Moraga, Calif. 
May 20, 2018

As a busy business owner and mother I like to keep my routines simple, and in no area is this more true than in my beauty routine. I am in no way am I a morning person, unless this is to simply sit in the quiet and drink my coffee writing in the early morning hours. Getting out the door is another matter altogether, and I despise being hurried and rushed.

My uncle used to call my mother and her five sisters “frustrated actresses” meaning they were all capable of being movie stars, but decided to be mothers and housewives instead. And it was true they were the most beautiful group of raven haired blue-green eyed beauties you could ever hope to encounter.

Black Irish is the term they used for this combination of fair skin, dark hair and light eyes that they shared.
 As a result of this genetic good fortune I grew up around women who kept their mirrors and makeup in their kitchen pantries. I myself was a tree climbing tomboy, but I would sit and watch my mother paint her nails and put on her makeup with a lighted mirror at the kitchen table. The makeup alone took one hour. The hair another hour. Nails another hour. She never left the house looking anything less than flawless.

As for myself, I don’t have this kind of time. But, I benefited from their knowledge and have devised a beauty routine that takes about ten minutes.
 Today, I’m sharing this wisdom in memory of my Irish relatives and the beautiful women I grew up with.

I wash my hair, spray it with a shine product, and twist it into a bun. In about an hour, I take it down and it is wavy and shiny. I rarely use a hair dryer or heat on my hair.

 I do my makeup in the car at the stoplights. And this is what I use:

  • Maybelline, Fit Me Foundation, in Classic Ivory, SPF 18. This is good stuff.

  • Chanel, Healthy Glow Sheer Color Powder, #20. I don’t know what’s in this, but it’s awesome.

  • Chanel, Powder Blush, 72 Rose Initial. Perfect light pink. Love it.

  • Revlon, Color Stay, #30. They are not kidding when they call this color stay. I put it on once a day.

  • Chanel, Rouge Allure, Create #142. Love the color, but it doesn’t last as long.

  • Chanel, Rouge CoCo Shine. In Monte Carlo #62 and Adventure #57. The long wearing lipstick dries your lips, so these sheer hydrating lipsticks are nice to touch up with.

  • Essie, Ballet Slippers. A classic white for hands and toes. Perfect sheer coverage.

  • Jo Malone, English Pear & Freesia. I wear this in winter. It’s a very warm floral. In summer I wear Grapefruit and Lime-Basil in the same brand. In the shower I use the Pomegranate Noir bar soap.

I use a combination of high and low priced products. Please let me know your favorites.


  1. As life-long students of the female gender and their rituals, we found this fascinating. Thanks for the Sunday-read, Sydney! As for “The Boys” here at NEWS24/680, our own “go-to cosmetics” include a flank steak (Lunardis, $2.99 a lb) for those occasional bar brawl black eyes; toothpicks or cocktail skewers for propping up droopy eyelids; an aloe-based skin care recipe from Dan’s uncle Mike, who put it to good use during his service in the Pacific in WWII; and a generous morning splash of Old Warthog (guaranteed to get you a seat to yourself on BART) to leave the ladies wondering: “Holy Moly, what is that guy wearing?”

  2. My beauty routine is very simple. Light make-up and light perfume. Sometimes no make-up and no perfume, depending on the day. It’s nice to be told “you don’t need make-up” but hey, it’s fun.

    With all due respect Sydney, I don’t understand applying make-up in the car, or on BART, etc. Why drag all the stuff with you when you can easily spend 5 minutes at home in good lighting? In the privacy of your own home, and not in public.

  3. @Danielle It’s nice to have your make up in the car in case you want to go out after work. There’s actually really good natural light in the car in the a.m. You can definitely see if you are using the right shades. When I wasn’t quite so busy I did do my makeup in the house, when I lived in SF in my 20’s I did my makeup on the bus! This is so embarrassing now. Lol.

  4. I make my own hair care product! When I want to spoil myself …. which is more often than I actually can….. I mash an avocado, add an egg yolk and add about a quarter cup of olive oil. I have hair like Sidney so this works by massaging it in after a bath or shower, piling it up high on top and wrapping it with a hot towel for a half hour or so. Rinse it out with warm water. I get more comments after doing that and it’s an old trick my abuela taught me!

  5. Sydney – Just be careful. A lot of states consider putting on make-up in the car (even at a red light) distracted driving. A friend of mine got a $230 ticket for it (out of state). Any distracted driving could lead to an accident. I have no idea if it’s illegal in CA.

  6. @Danielle Thank you for the advise. I’m really careful, but now that this practice is now public I’ll be extra cautious. I’m really good about staying off my phone which is also very dangerous.

  7. @L. Coconut oil is awesome for dry skin. It’s pure and natural. It’s great for kids too in the summertime when the swimming pool chemicals dry out their skin.

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